Name: Ryan Bischoff
Hometown: Plymouth Meeting, PA
24/7: 82, three stars; #77 OG, PA #32
ESPN: 73, three stars; #84 OG, PA #32, East #154
Rivals: 5.3, two stars
Scout: three stars
Other offers: None
Juan Thornhill committed before 2014's Signing Day, so Ryan Bischoff is really the first pickup of the cycle. Being someone who harps and harps and harps on the lack of OL depth, I wasn't at all unhappy to see that first commitment be a lineman.
Like Thornill, Bischoff committed before getting any other offers. Unlike Thornhill, Bischoff had a little time to receive them; his verbal to UVA was in April. Does that mean less excitement? Perhaps a smidge. Bischoff is a tough prospect to evaluate. He does have good size, and more than one evaluator suggests he should easily be able to pack on more. I'll buy it; he's listed in a Philly.com article at 310 pounds, and though the accompanying picture is almost certainly not of a 310-pound kid, it does show how easily he carries a big frame. 310 also happens to be the largest listing of a scholarship player on the UVA roster. Bischoff could nose his way up to perhaps, say, 325. Perfect for a big guard.
It's also fairly easy to project him to guard, for two reasons. One, if he had tackle-worthy footwork he'd be a four-star prospect at his size. Two, his team runs the ball almost exclusively. Rivals and Scout each have a different Hudl highlight tape, and in about ten minutes of highlights I think I saw three or four pass plays. One of which was a receiver screen and another a regular screen. Maybe one actual, real, drop-back pass with a pocket. It's largely a read-option offense. Therein lies the aforementioned difficulty in evaluating.
As such, you can start to see why the lack of early offers. A guy like that, most teams will see his film and say, OK, let's get him into camp and see if he can do the stuff we want him to do. Also, the only in-depth evaluation available is ESPN's, and they use the word "flash" (or "flashes") five times. Honestly, that's not a great sign; it means "can, but doesn't always." Still, you get the impression his chances to diversify his skill set are limited.
The sum, then, is a player whose impressive size and good strength are well ahead of his technical skills. Guard naturally offers a faster route to the field, being well-suited to really, really huge guys and with less to learn overall. It's hard to project a pathway, though. OG is a bit more of a bottom-heavy position in terms of class; if Steven Moss comes in as a guard, then I count three or four freshman (true or redshirt) and only one freshman at tackle at most. But it's also way up in the air. The likely starters are Conner Davis and I guess Ross Burbank. The post-spring depth chart has three guys who've played meaningful snaps, and so a lot depends on what happens with guys like Jack McDonald, Ryan Doull, Jake Fieler, Sean Karl, and so on. Bischoff needs time to develop - almost all linemen do, Bischoff perhaps more than many - and the best thing will be if a solid group of next men up emerges. If there's any pressure to toss Bischoff into the fire early, either he's a very pleasant surprise that belies his low-three-star, limiting-offense pedigree, or we're in trouble. Much better is that Bischoff follows a path similar to Davis: getting stashed for two years and coming out of storage bigger and stronger and ready to watch his role expand to where he's just a given as a fifth-year senior.